Monday, May 26, 2014

Renaissance - Commedia dell'arte


Renaissance - Commedia dell'arte



Around the 1550’s an improvised form of mask theatre, which had its origins in the Ancient Roman comedy of about 100BC to 300AD, started to emerge of of the flourishing city states of Italy. The Commedia dell’arte (sometimes called the commedia dell’arte all’improvviso) which loosely translates as ‘the comedy of the artisans’ is a improvised masked comedy form which was primarily performed outside and on temporary or movable stages which was often performed during carnivale or local city festivals.
A number of factors made the commedia dell’arte different to previous drama forms. Firstly, commedia was primarily improvised not use scripts as such but using stock characters, routines and scenarios which were adapted and changed to suit each new town or city state the troupe performed in. Secondly, male and female actors were part of each commedia troupe and in Western theatre, commedia was the first form to embrace female performers. Thirdly, the actors were part of traveling troupes and as such sets and backdrops became less important than acting, miming, using robbes (props) and depending on movement, acrobatics and masks (primarily half masks which allowed dialogue to be heard) and costumes. Fourthly, the actors were professional and would rely on both patronage and payment or donations collected by passing a hat round after performances.

Commedia uses stock characters and social stereotypes and so an audience anywhere in Italy and in other countries such as France and Spain could relate to the characters presented. The scenarios used, although largely improvised, were highly structured and built around the symmetry of the various character types working together such as two zanni, vecchi, inamorate and inamorati. Some of the stock characters were related to stereotypes which some people related to specific areas, towns and city states in Italy. Some of the major groups of characters included young lovers, vane soldiers, foolish old men and scheming servants. Some popular characters included:
·      Pantalone (the greedy and miserly Venetian merchant)




·      Arlecchino (the magical yet mischievous servant)



·      Il Dottore (the pedantic and sometimes stuttering doctor)



·      Il Capitano (the bragging but cowardly soldier)


·      Punchinello (the rude and crude servant)


·      Isabella (the young na├»ve lover)

·      Columbina (the wordly-wise and cunning servant)




Video about Commedia and some Commedia characters.
Commedia dell'arte Unit

In this unit students will learn through activities, exercises and research. The crux of this unit is an exploration of the techniques of the Commedia del Arte. This work will involve and be assessed on the following::

  • Doing practical exercises and workshops to explore Commedia dell'arte
  • Writing Drama Journal Entries on these workshops and your process
  • Conducting research on the Commedia del Arte and on one Commedia character and making a poster which displays both your theoretical and practical knowledge on Commedia and Commedia characters
  • Making and documenting the process of making a Commedia mask
  • Developing a Commedia lazzi and a commedia script
  • Writing a reflection which includes reflecting on the differences and similarities between the processes and techniques of scripted and improvised comedy through Commedia dell'arte
  • Developing a group Commedia dell'arte performance which is performed to an audience
N.B. Remember to try to consistently think about, talk about (in classroom discussions) and write about the Guiding Question for this Commedia dell'arte unit. These are:
What is Commedia dell'arte and how and why did it develop?
What is the difference between scripted performance and improvised performance?
What techniques can I use to develop drama for performance? 
What are the traits and attributes which make some characters in the Commedia dell'arte individual? 
What influence does a performance space and an audience have on a performance?

Initial Practical Exercises and Explorations

  1. Walk around the room. Mill and seed - walk in random directions trying to move consistently into gaps. Do not walk in lines or follow or walk beside other people.
  2. Imagine your normal pace of walking could be called a level 5 (on a scale of 1 to 10). Keep walking at a level 5. Now slow down the walk marginally and walk at a level 4. Slow it down more to a level 3. You may have noticed that you slightly lengthened the length of your stride. That is fine. Now down to a level 2. Now finally slow it down to a level 1 (walk as slowly as you can). Now go back to walking at your normal pace - a level 5. We are going to increase the pace but make sure you are careful and aware and don't run into one another. When we get to a level 9 you will be walking (not running or jogging) at the fastest pace you can. Walk at a level 6. Now level 7. You may have noticed that you slightly shortened the length of your stride. That is fine. Now level 8. Now level 9. Now bring the pace down to a level 5 again. 
  3. You are going to walk around the room now and attempt to show a number of different characters just with changing the pace of your walk. Try not to do gestures or facial expressions at the moment since we will come to these later. Now walk at a level 5 pace. Now think of someone who is greedy and miserly. Take on the pace of a Miser. This character is Pantalone.
  4. Now come back to your level 5 walk. This your neutral. Now think of someone who is mischievous who creeps around. Change your pace to suit this type of character. Now add a little bit of a magical element. How does that affect the pace? You might want to vary the pace or change between paces to achieve this. You might even want to add ballet-like footwork. This character is Arlecchino or Harlequin.
  5. Now come back to your level 5 walk. This your neutral. Now think of someone who is intelligent but nervous and not confident. Change your pace to suit this type of character. You might want to vary the pace or change between paces to achieve this. This character is Il Dottore, the Doctor.
  6. Now come back to your level 5 walk. Now think of someone who is overconfident, vane and filled with a sense of their own self importance. Change your pace to suit this type of character. How does an overly proud person walk. Now add a little bit of cowardice. How does that affect the pace? You might want to vary the pace or change between showing the pride and then showing their cowardly nature. This character is Il Capitano or The Captain.
  7. Now come back to your level 5 walk. Now think of someone who is rude and crude. Change your pace to suit this type of character. Now add a little bit of a strangeness. How does that affect the pace? This is the character of Pulchinella or Punch.
  8. Now come back to your level 5 walk. Now think of someone who is delicate and naive. Change your pace to suit this type of character. You may want to almost make your walking stop or freeze at moments into a pose. You might want to vary the pace to achieve this. This is the character of Isabella.
  9. Now come back to your level 5 walk. Now think of someone who is lively, perky, quick and a little bit sexy. Change your pace to suit this type of character. You might want to vary the pace or change between paces to achieve these different elements. This is the lively, cunning worldly-wise Columbina.
  10. We are now going to add actions, other movements and vocal character aspects to your explorations of these characters. You will need to use this physical research to help shortlist and eventually decide the character you will make a mask for and later improvise and act with in your Commedia troupe.
  11. Walk around the room as Pantalone - the Miser. Find the way he walks. remember he is greedy and miserly. Now add gestures and facial expression that you think suit this character. make a note of how comfortable you felt playing the character of Pantalone. 
  12. Now repeat the same process with Arlechino, Il Dottore, Il Capitano, Puchinello, Isabella and Columbina. 
  13. Now we will try some interaction between different characters as we move around the room.
  14. At the end of this process answer the following reflective questions for one character. If you are still undecided then do the answers to the questions for two character,
Reflective Questions for Physical Exploration of Commedia dell'arte questions

  1. Which character have you chosen to portray and make a mask for?
  2. How would you describe the walk, movements and gestures of this character?
  3. What words would you use to describe the attitude and behaviour of this character?
  4. What are some words, phrases and statements which you think this character would commonly utter?
  5. If you were to make a half-face mask for this character what do you think would be the features and attributes you would emphasise or make prominent on this mask? (i.e. wrinkled forehead, bushy eyebrows, large eyes, pointy nose and a long well-groomed moustache)

Research and Poster/Presentation
Your task is to now conduct research on the Commedia del Arte and on one Commedia character and to produce a poster or a digital presentation (3-5 hours). This will involve:
  • Reading and taking more notes on the first physical research workshop (5-10 min.)
  • Researching Commedia dell'arte and making notes or what you have found. (1-2 hours)
  • Starting a bibliography of your resources you are using (you may use a librarian or reference tools to help you with this) (10-20 min.)
  • Organizing your notes and updating a bibliography of resources you use for your research and assignment (update notes continuously as you are reading and researching) (20 min.)
  • Reading all handouts on Commedia which you will be given and making notes on Commedia workshops (30 min.)
  • Taking a number of photographs of your mask making process at different stages
  • Making a poster or digital presentation with information in your own words, some pictures/photos and a bibliography (1-3 hours)


How do I do this
Give yourself plenty of time to do this. You can research in the library and at home through general encyclopedic resources, drama specific books and using online source on Commedia and Commedia characters (2-3 hours work). 

 Student Journal Samples
Commedia del Arte  Drama Year 9 Student A
Guiding Questions
I think I have learnt a lot through this unit about drama in general and the commedia del arte. I enjoy acting in scripted plays more than improvised ones but I think this is because I like being more prepared and get a bit nervous with improvising. I think the difference between the two is that scripted the meaning and deepness comes through analyzing and representing the script and drawing ideas and things out of the script where in improvised you have to bring and draw things and ideas out of yourself. The ideas aren’t as deep but they are often funnier and more responsive to the situation, the other actors and the audience.

In groups I like to talk out and discuss ideas first and then get up and try different ideas and solutions. Improvising using the stereotypes in commedia makes it easier because the character gives you a base or guideline. I think that doing the movement work helped this too and sometimes working with an animal in mind and using the LJISn work we did in class helped.

The research I did helped a lot but the difficult things were using the theory in practical scenes and also using the practical work we did on the poster as research. I think I solved this be on the poster just stating what I discovered in the practical work (like reporting it) and I think I used the research to help me get images in my mind and a sense of how the character would be. Pictures in research helped. Doing the pieces (scenes and lazzi) in front of an audience actually helped since I think improvisation work depends on an audience. I found that sometimes complex idea and bits either got forgotten in front of an audience or didn’t work. Perhaps the larger a group is the simpler the ideas which are communicated have to be. A bit like having to dumb it all down for a larger audience.
Knowledge and Comprehension
I think my research shows a great knowledge and understanding of commedia. The poster turned out well and has good research and the mask I made and the practical workshops we did is also used (I don’t think most others did this). I hope my performance also showed this.  I think that I showed  how much I understand through the way I joined my theoretical and practical knowledge. In practice I think I showed how my knowledge could be applied. 
Application and Evaluation
In the initial workshops and through to performance, I think I showed to a high degree how to do my character. I explored a number of characters before I finally decided. I think that I wasn’t so great in making the mask and I was a little disappointed with the final product. Next time I don’t think I will chose brown for the base colour as it makes the mask and character look a little dull. My performance work particularily my character movements and the way I was able to establish character and status worked extremely well.
My work in this unit was very good. My work in the movement and LJISn workshops showed concentration and I was very engaged. My research was excellent and helped me to practically apply what I had learnt. I think that I didn’t make the best mask but I tried to reflect what I learnt in the mask even if I didn’t practically pull it off. My work towards the final performance was the best part since I took on the ideas of other and of commedia and ended up doing a very good and funny character portrayal and performance.

Making a Commedia Mask (aluminium foil and masking tape)

  1. Materials - rolls of aluminium foil, masking tape, scissors, marker pens, coloured pens or pencils or poster or acrylic paint.
  2. Get into pairs to help one another. Please remember that some people are allergic to aluminium foil so if any student has any allergic reaction then a paper or plastic commercial mask may be used and covered in masking tape starting at a later part of the process.
  3. Overlap three sheets of aluminum foil in a stack.
  4. Get your partner to push the stack of sheets onto your face. This can be done standing up or lying down. Push down as hard as you are comfortable pushing. Do it carefully, so the foil does not become punctured. Watch the eyes but also make sure you get definition around the eyes and the nose.
  5. Get your partner to check you have the general outline of your face imprinted: nose, lips, corners of your eyes and cheekbones. Use a marker and trace around your eyes (it might be good to follow the bones around your eye socket) for where you want to place the eye holes in your mask. Also, trace around anything else you want cut out. Remember that you are making a half mask so you need to mark where the chin and mouth areas are.  Take a photograph of this.
  6. Carefully remove the foil from your face. Cut with sharp scissors around the edges of the mask. And note––once you cut it, you can't really go back easily, so leave extra. Now swap over with your partner.
  7. Carefully cut out the eyes. Do this either by puncturing the foil with a tooth pick and tearing the foil out, or snipping in the center of the area with the tip of scissors and folding the foil back. Take a photograph of this.
  8. Cut holes or slots in the side of your mask. These are for the ribbons/cord/shoelaces to attach the mask to your face. Take a photograph of this.
  9. Cut small sections of tape. While pressing the mask to your face to keep the features strong, gently place the tape onto your mask. When you feel the mask's features are firm enough, place all the sections of tape, overlapping, across all visible places of foil, including the back (foil is itchy next to the skin). Take a photograph of this.
  10. Tie the cord to the holes in the side of your mask. Leave enough length to both wrap around your head, and to tie in a nice knot or bow. Take a photograph of this.
  11. Now using the ideas or pictures from your research, paint or decorate your half-face mask using acrylic or poster paint. You can even sprinkle glitter on the paint while it's wet if you like. If you add facial hair or a moustache, you may want to do this when it is dry. For female characters you may wish to add sequins, feathers, beads, etc. can enhance the mask.Take a photograph of the completed mask.
  12. Now write up your mask making process outlining what you did, any problems you encountered and giving reasons for why you decorated the mask in the way you did.

Commedia Improvising and Scripting or Scoring these Improvisations

  1. You are now to chose or be put into commedia troupes of about five characters and you are going to try to improvise or role play some scenes and scenarios. You may want to try this using or not using the masks you have made. You may want to read the sample script below done by Year 9 students after they improvised some scenarios.

Sample Student Commedia Script

Columbina:         This seems like a nice restaurant, I think I’ll sit down. Hmm what should I get? Gosh, everything is so expensive, let’s see how much money I have. Only two dollars?!? Isabella has not been paying me well these days! Is there anyone willing to lend beautiful little me some money?
Captain:         I’m so beautiful, don’t you wish you were me… [falls from chair] Ahem. I meant to do that. Anyways, hi weakling. Could I be more charming? If only I had a woman to impress…
Columbina:                  A woman you say
Cpatain:                       A woman you say
Columbina:         What if I found you a woman?
Captain:                       What if I found you a -what? [turns around to face Columbina]
Captain:         Two hundred dollars?
Columbina:         I’m on it. [Shake hands, Columbina stands up]. I could so use this money but who could possibly love the captain? She would have to be stupid.
Isabella:          [Enters]. Two plus two is one, right?
Columbina:         Pretty.
Isabella:         Oh no, you should see me when I'm looking—oh no, I’m looking pretty good today.
Columbina:         Innocent.
Isabella:         The day is young…
Columbina:         Isabella!
Isabella:         Sorry?
Columbina:         What are you doing here?
Isabella:         I… can’t remember.
Columbina:         Are you here to meet the charming Captain?
Isabella:         That’s IT!
Columbina:         No, that’s not it.
Isabella:         Then what’s it?
Columbina:         This is your father’s restaurant.
Isabella:         THAT’S it.
Columbina:          Let’s sit down. [Columbina walks to chair. Isabella sits down on floor]. Do you want me to bring your chair there Isabella??
Isabella:                       Yeah ok..hah oh right. [Walks to chairs]  
Columbina:                  Captain…Captain…Captain
Captain:                        Yessir…oh right [reaches out hand]
Columbina:                   This is Isabella. Isabella
Isabella:                        Isabella
Columbina:                   Isabella
Isabella:                        Isabella
Columbina:                   [whistles]
Isabella:                         [whistles] [realizes she’s being called]
Isabella:         [Sneezes, passes handkerchief to Captain].  So…What do you know about investments? My daddy’s making good money and I want to do something with it.
Captain:         I know all there is to know! What do you want to do?
Isabella:         I was thinking about something agricultural you know, like farming emus. That’d be fun, going in and helping to plant them…
Captain:         Emus are fish. [same time]
Columbina:         Emus are birds. [same time]
Captain:         Emus are birds? [Same time]
Columbina:         Emus are fish? [Same time] No. Emus are definitely birds.
Captain:         Of course there are! I was testing your knowledge!
Columbina:         You know..I think you should open a bank account. You’ll get interest for just keeping your money there! Only, it costs some money to open one… So you should just put all your money in my bank account!
Isabella:         Yes! And you could just take my money whenever you want! Genius!
Captain:         What do you do with your money now?
Isabella:         Right now, it’s in a purse, under my chair with the combination three-two-zero-six. I repeat three-two-zero-six.
Captain:          You should invest in real estate.
Columbina:         In a purse
Isabella:         Real-ah-what?
Columbina:         Under the chair.
Captain:         Real estate.
Columbina:         With the combination three-two-zero-six.
Isabella:         Hmm. [mime talking]
Columbina:         This could be my chance! Who knows if the Captain will pay me? I should just steal it! [Begins to steal]
Captain:         So did you read my article in the newspaper about my house? It was so wonderfully written, front page headlines…
Isabella:         Yeah!
Captain:         Every square inch of the tile is worth more than you.
Isabella:         What a compliment! 
Columbina:         Almost there!
Isabella:         [sees Columbina] Columbina?
Columbina:         Yes? [Arm under chair]
Isabella:         Are you reaching under my chair? [Suspiciously]
Columbina:                  No.
Isabella:                  Good. There’s nothing under there except for my money. [Casual]
Captain:                  So, my house! It is so beautiful.
Columbina:                  [steals money and sits back down] Wow.
Captain:                  You’d never be able to afford it. How much money do you have?
Columbina:                  I need to hide it somewhere!
Isabella:                  I’ll show you. [Searches under chair] Hmm. I swear I put it here…
                           This is weird…
Columbina:                  [slips box under her chair] somebody stole your money!

                                                         [SONG SEQUENCE]
Isabella:                         [laughing] someone stole my money
Cpatain:                         [laughing] someone stole your money
Colmbina                       [with urgency in her voice] someone stole your money!
Captain:                  Ah! A quest for the brave and almighty ME! [jumps up]
Isabella:                  You have a spider on your shirt.
Captain:         Aaaaaaah! GET IT OFF! GET IT OFF! HELP! I’M GOING TO DIE!
Columbina:         [flicks off spider] Now go find that money.
Captain:         [hums Mission Impossible and begins to search]
Columbina:         Isabella, I don’t have your money. And YOU don’t have your money. So the only person that can have it would be the Captain. Think about it logically… why would I steal your money, when I could steal the Captain’s? [goes on talking, trying to convince Isabella she doesn’t have the money]
Isabella:         [crawls next to the box under the chair, along with the Captain] Hmm. That’s funny. There’s a box that looks just like mine. [crawls away]
Captain:         Ah-HA! The brave and almighty Captain has concluded the quest! The culprit is caught! You have the right to remain silent!
Isabella:         Are you talking about Columbina?
Captain:         Yes! Columbina is obviously the criminal.
Isabella:         Columbina can’t have stolen my money! That doesn’t make sense! She’s poor, homeless and hungry. Why would she need my money?
Columbina:         Exactly. Why would I steal rich, spoiled and stupid Isabella’s money?
Captain:         Look at her guilty expression! The brave and almighty me detects that we have a liar!
Isabella:         This is a big mix up… I know Columbina is too nice to ever steal.
Columbina:         That is true! Isabella KNOWS that I would NEVER steal her money!
Captain:         You can not weasel out of this one Columbina. You have been caught red-handed! By the brave and almighty ME! Confess to the crime now!
Columbina:         Oh, fine. He’s right, you caught me—
Isabella:         Ah! I have the solution! Columbina was simply keeping my money box under her chair for safekeeping! How sweet of you!
Columbina:         You caught me doing a good deed! Isabella is right. Anyone could have heard that the money was in a box, under the chair, with the combination three-two-zero-six.
Captain:         This is not right! Do not believe the thief! The brave and almighty me marks her guilty!
Isabella:         No, no. That could never be true.
Columbina:         NEVER.
Isabella:         EVER.
Coiumbina:                 EVER
Isabella:                      NEVER
Captain:         Isabella, you are an idiot damsel. You are not good enough for the brave and almighty ME! Columbina, you are an idiot plan maker too! I will never pay you! [stalks off stage]
Columbina:         Hmph. Isn’t this just great. Now I have no money.
Isabella:         For your generous and noble actions, Columbina, I have decided that I will give you all of my money. Who knows? Without you, I could’ve lost my money to any of the audience out there! [gives money] okay, got to go.
Columbina:                 YES! Now I have all the money in the world. I think I’ll get the most expensive thing here, Waiter! [Winks]

Peixin as Isabella, Rutger as Captain and Hanan as Columbina.

Commedia del Arte Poster
 Guiding Questions
·       What is the difference between scripted performance and improvised performance? (ATL & Homo Faber)
·       How do I work productively and sensitively on other people’s ideas and scripts? (ATL & Homo Faber)
·       What techniques can I use to develop drama for performance? (ATL & Homo Faber)
·       How can I research and use the work of drama theorists and writers in my performances? (ATL)
·       What are the roles and influences which an audience can play during performances? (Community and Service & Environment)
Poster Checklist
  • Your Name, Commedia del arte Title, The name of your character
  • 2-4 paragraphs on Commedia (or 1 page A4) which is uses in-text referencing
  • 2-4 paragraphs (or 1 page A4) on your character which can research and or notes and observations made in class
  • A bibliography of the 2-5 sources used (in the Harvard style)
  • A picture or drawing of your character (full body)
  • A drawing or sketch (annotated if you like and from 2 angles if you like) of your mask for your character
  • A photo of your mask or you in your completed mask
A reflection on the process of making the mask and finding out about the character which addresses some if not all of the Guiding Questions
Other Commedia Assignment Ideas
History/Introduction
  • How have masks been used throughout history? For what purposes?
  • Describe the rules and conventions for working with mask in the theatre.
  • Explain one of the following characters in commedia del' Arte, how they were acted and what they represented: Pantalone; Il Dottore; Il Capitano; Arlecchino; Colombine.
Comprehension
  • Give reasons why masks were used in rituals.
  • Talk about why commedia del' Arte characters were so popular in Italy in the 16th and 17th centuries
  • Describe, in detail, the looks of a masked character that you know about or are interested in and draw a picture of the mask.
  • Talk about why the rules for working with a mask are important.
  • Define the terms: Zanni; Burles; Lazzi.
  • What skills did the commedia del' Arte actors need to perform commedia successfully?
Application
  • Classify the commedia del' Arte characters in different ways (e.g. as servant and master, high status and low status, good or bad, interesting or dull, sensible or foolish). Give reasons for your answer.
  • Create a mask out of a substance that you would find at home, for example, newspaper, cardboard, paper bag, foil.
  • Write a short script using characters in any mask that you imagine.
  • Devise ten questions that you would ask a character in neutral mask.
  • Imagine that you are an Italian audience member of 16th century commedia del' Arte. Describe or draw a picture of the market place or street in which you are observing the performance.
  • Draw a set of masks that you would use in a ritual of your choice.
  • Make a Commedia del Arte poster which examines the Commedia in general and a specific character (you may also wish to photograph a mask you have made for the character.
Analysis
  • Talk about what you think an audience would get from watching a commedia performance in the 16th century.
  • Discuss how masks are useful in actor training work.
  • Explain the motives behind the actions of four commedia characters and give evidence for your ideas.
  • Write a brief analysis of what you have learnt through your practical and theoretical explorations of Commedia.
  • Write a short scene in which two neutral mask characters are involved. Write the scene twice, once from each character's point of view.
  • Discuss what ways Marcel Marceau's character in the video used body language and what the body language tells you about the character.
  • Discuss what you see the modern day concept of mask to be.
Synthesis
  • Create a role play based around the issue of pet care, using masked characters. (Using improvisation is a good starting point.)
  • Design a set for a play that focuses on commedia being presented in a Roman marketplace.
  • Write an interview that you held with Il Dottore or Brighella.
  • Bring any one of the commedia characters into Australia in the 1990s and describe his/her reaction to the new world.
  • Write an article about Lefevre and why he sees using mask as a useful actor training method.


Text and Performance - Commedia del Arte  Drama Year 9  (Reflection Sample)
 Reflection
I think I have learnt a lot through this unit about drama in general and the commedia del arte. I enjoy acting in scripted plays more than improvised ones but I think this is because I like being more prepared and get a bit nervous with improvising. I think the difference between the two is that scripted the meaning and deepness comes through analyzing and representing the script and drawing ideas and things out of the script where in improvised you have to bring and draw things and ideas out of yourself. The ideas aren’t as deep but they are often funnier and more responsive to the situation, the other actors and the audience.

In groups I like to talk out and discuss ideas first and then get up and try different ideas and solutions. Improvising using the stereotypes in commedia makes it easier because the character gives you a base or guideline. I think that doing the movement work helped this too and sometimes working with an animal in mind and using the LJISn work we did in class helped.

The research I did helped a lot but the difficult things were using the theory in practical scenes and also using the practical work we did on the poster as research. I think I solved this be on the poster just stating what I discovered in the practical work (like reporting it) and I think I used the research to help me get images in my mind and a sense of how the character would be. Pictures in research helped. Doing the pieces (scenes and lazzi) in front of an audience actually helped since I think improvisation work depends on an audience. I found that sometimes complex idea and bits either got forgotten in front of an audience or didn’t work. Perhaps the larger a group is the simpler the ideas which are communicated have to be. A bit like having to dumb it all down for a larger audience.
I think my research shows a great knowledge and understanding of commedia. The poster turned out well and has good research and the mask I made and the practical workshops we did is also used (I don’t think most others did this). I think that in the making of the mask my designs were not detailed enough to start with. I had trouble trying to shape my mask but the paint and the masking tape helped a lot to smooth and keep it even. I hope my initial performance also used my mask well and showed the largeness of the character and his attributes of being rude, crude and socially unacceptable.
In the initial workshops and through to performance, I think I showed to a high degree how to do my character. I explored a number of characters before I finally decided. I think that I wasn’t so great in making the mask and I was a little disappointed with the final product. Next time I don’t think I will chose brown for the base colour as it makes the mask and character look a little dull. My performance work particularily my character movements and the way I was able to establish character and status worked extremely well.
My work in this unit was very good. My research was excellent and helped me to practically apply what I had learnt. I think that I didn’t make the best mask but I tried to reflect what I learnt in the mask even if I didn’t practically pull it off. My work towards the final performance was the best part since I took on the ideas of other and of commedia and ended up doing a very good and funny character portrayal and performance.




Revision Notes and Food for Thought


Section A
Re-read your commedia dell arte folder and journal and take notes on dates, origins, influences, form, plots and characters. Think about the advantages and disadvantages of using specific masks and mask techniques. Also look at the 9 areas of the stage and think about the advantages and disadvantages of different spaces.
Section B
Be prepared to draw a picture of your mask and/or a costume for your character. Think about the traits and personality of your character. Write down your ideas about how best to describe your character and how best to act out the part of your character.
Section C
Be prepared to write about how you physically and vocally create your character. Think and write notes about:
·      movements (walk, pace, temp, gestures and facial expressions)
·      vocal aspects (vocal pace, tone or intonation, pitch & the use or non-use of an accent)
·      Personality Traits
·      Jokes or business or lazzi